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The Most Obnoxious / Best Decision I've Ever Made

In my early twenties, newly independent, I really wanted a pet of my own. I kept visiting shelters, but never connected with any animals. One summer, I found this tiny, overcrowded cat shelter and they were literally throwing cats at me, desperate to get one adopted out. After the 26th cute, yet not-for-me cat encounter, I was trying to politely leave. They handed me a small grey kitten and said, "Well, there's this one. We've had him a few weeks, but haven't gotten around to naming him yet." As they tried to sell me on their nonprofit good deeds, I felt pointy claws digging into my chest. So I glanced down into my arms and saw the brightest, greenest, biggest eyes glaring up at me, eyes that looked like they were lined in eye liner. They said, "It's me. Let's go, already!" So I did.

It's been 6 years with my cat Johnny - who has become a 19 pound beast, with vet-diagnosed OC and eating disorder, whom I have to feed in mini portions at regular intervals to keep him from eating too fast and vomiting, whose unusually loud howl for food at 5 am keeps me and my neighbors from ever sleeping in, with his compulsive need to lick my hands clean before I pet him - and I wouldn't have him any other way. His strange and vibrant personality reminds me daily that I made the right choice bringing him home that day, not in spite of his obnoxious and overbearing traits, but because of them. I know no one else could take care of him with the patience and understanding that I do. Perhaps this is because I see some of myself in him - though rest assured not the obnoxious part!

Murfreesboro, TN

Stuart, the kitty: having an awesome retirement, off the streets.

On one of our evening walks, a very emaciated, but friendly kitty came up to us meowing. We felt so bad for him, we had to go to the store that instant and get him some food. That night I could not sleep because I couldn't stop thinking about him. He had no tags and I thought maybe he was someones missing cat and thats why he looked so malnourished and frail. Maybe we could find his family who was missing him?

The next day on my way home from work, I saw him. I am not sure what came over me but I just picked him up, put him in my car and drove him home!

We fed him, bathed him (a couple of times) and made a little bed for him away from our other two cats.

We started to call him Stuart.

The next day, my partner took Stu to the vet to check for a microchip (none) so we completed some vaccinations and blood work. We also put up an ad up on our neighborhood website to see if anyone would claim him.

A neighbor wrote to us and told us it was his cat and he could pick him up. But because of Stuarts state of health, we were hesitant to give him back to people who were possibly neglecting him. We explained that we had taken Stu to the vet and and told them about the work that needed to be done to help him get healthy, which added up to quite a bit more money. This seemed to turn them off, so my partner asked if the couple would be willing to let us adopt him. They said YES! We were so excited that he would not be a street cat anymore!

That was about a year ago and after some fairly large vet bills, he is doing much much better. He is an old cat, guessing about 15 years old, but we want to give him a good life no matter how long he has with us. We love Stu!

Suzanne LaFleur
Richmond, CA

From a person terrified of cats to a cat lover...

My boyfriend was terrified of cats. And the first thing I told him when we met, was that my dream was to live in a house with cats everywhere! As always, love took over our differences and we were together. One day my boyfriend sent me a picture of a cat that was roaming in his backyard. I always keep a packet of cat food in the kitchen for strays, and I asked him to keep some out for our visitor. He did, and thus began one of the best chapters of our life together.

"Diana" as we named our new friend, started visiting us regularly for food. She was very friendly and enjoyed being petted. We worried that Diana belonged to someone else, but she was not neutered and after two days, she had claimed our backyard as her home.

Disaster struck when my boyfriend had to move out of the house, a week later. What would we do with Diana? We were upset. My roommate refused to let me have cats. We still went back to the house and fed Diana, since new owners hadn't moved in yet. She would come running to us when we called her name, and loved cuddling in my lap. And then my boyfriend surprised me by saying "We are adopting Diana". "HOW" I asked? "Just trust me" he said. And so we took Diana to the vet and checked if she was microchipped. She was not, and we were shocked when it turned out our "Diana" was male!! We renamed him "Dana", since he only responded to similar names. We took him back home and my boyfriend talked to my roommate. I moved out and with him into a new home, where me, him and Dana live as a family now! It was been 8 months since we adopted Dana and our life has become much brighter. Dana LOVES us, especially his daddy and snuggles with him every night. And my boyfriend adores Dana, and is even thinking of getting Dana a sibling! How animals change us with their love and innocence...

Athens, GA

My Sun and Moon Kitties

One day I was outside and heard a wee meow. I looked up into a large bush and there was a little gray tabby kitten looking at me. But he was a bit skittish. So over several days, I lured him closer and closer with food. Finally, I scooped him up and put him in a carrier. He settled right down! I named him Kevin for a little Irish flavor. He is a sweet, gentle boy who drools when he purrs. About a year later, I went to the shelter and found a yellow tabby about Kevin’s age. I named him Sunny for his forceful personality. It took Kevin and Sunny a while to find a balance, but now they are best buddies! Sunny is strong and bright. Kevin is quiet and reflective. So I call them my Sun and Moon kitties and they truly are the Light of my life.

Deb Acorn
Greenwood, SC

Allie & Socks, beautiful sisters

Our 2 gorgeous girls showed up in our yard with their mom on Father's Day 2004 while we were having a bbq. they were so tiny, only a couple of months old. I fed them leftovers (against my husband's wishes) and immediately wanted to take them in. my husband said no because of allergies but I never gave up. I continued to feed them and the following April he finally agreed and we took Allie in. the vet told me I should return her to the yard as she could never be tamed. they were both extremely feral but I refused to give up. after several months of coaxing, love and patience Allie finally allowed me to pet her. it is a victory I will never forget, lots of happy tears.

four months after bringing Allie in we were able to capture Socks (tuxedo). she took longer to socialize (2 years), but it was worth the wait. this spring they will be 11 and are are happy, healthy and spoiled members of our family. Socks is a cancer survivor and we are so thankful she is still with us and thriving. I can't imagine our life without these precious girls in it. they bring us so much laughter and joy and make our house a home. Allie has claimed the guest bed as her own and Socks has 3 beds to choose from. their toy basket overflows and they love having cookies every night.

I am so glad I didn't listen the the vet. if I did, we'd have missed out on the last 10 years of happiness and they likely wouldn't have survived. they know how lucky, safe and loved they are. never believe anyone who tells you feral cats can't be tamed. if we had persisted we'd never know the love they have to give and so willing accepted. they are a gift we treasure every day.



Teaneck, NJ

All You Need Is Love

Our family adopted our 4 year old tuxedo cat, named Maddox, in 2010 from a local shelter during their 4th of July adopt-a-thon. Maddox had been born into an animal rescue and lived in foster care until he was big enough to be altered and adopted out. We took him home at 12 weeks old. He was so tiny, but he grew up to be a beautiful, regal cat with the biggest, fattest plume of a tail you ever saw.

Near Christmas when Maddox was a year and a half old, he went out our doggy door into our fenced yard as he usually did, but this time he didn't return home for five days. Found badly injured and near death, Maddy managed to make it home, crying at the front door to be let in. We rushed him to the vet, and found out he was bleeding internally, had his tail broken on his spine, a busted bladder and a host of other injuries. It was a terribly scary time for all of us. Maddox wasn't about to give up though; he has a fighting spirit! He survived grim prognosis, 4 surgeries and 2 tail amputations! He lost his ability to urinate on his own and had to be helped to go potty, but we didn't mind, we were just glad he was alive. To keep his diaper on while his bladder healed, Maddox wore baby "onesies" for several months- one of the advantages of not having a tail! Maddox suffered many indignities and painful treatments, but never complained or hampered us in any way.

Maddy has made a full recovery now and no longer wears a diaper and a "onesie", but we still love to call him our Monkey Butt. Since the accident, Maddox has become so much closer to us. I truly believe he knows that his life was saved and he is grateful. Maddox's story is a testament to what a strong bond between cat guardian and pet can do when faced with life and death situations. Love can make miracles come true!

Tracy Hill
Phoenix, AZ

A lifetime with Eddie

I knew I wanted to rescue and looked into rescuing and Italian Greyhound since I had owned one before. I wanted a young male, well adjusted and not skittish due to my very busy,hectic lifestyle. Instead I got a phone call asking if I could foster a young male that was tossed out of a moving car and found running along a highway. No other details were known about him....and none were needed.He came home with me, jumped in my bed, and never left. They thought he might be 1-2 years old.... but he was more likely 3-4. I just said goodbye to him this past year, he was 19 years old....19! I rescued him, loved him, spoiled him....and said goodbye to him. He was a character, a championship napper and blanket cuddler,a refined and regal best buddy. I never met a dog with a more loving temperament, never heard him growl...not once. Everyone that encountered him fell in love with him...he made sure of that. Rescuing him was the single, best thing I've ever done. My life was better because of him...and I know that his life was better because of me. It's hard for some people to understand the amount of love and joy people feel for their pets. To me, it's simple....it's unconditional and pure...and that's the best thing anyone could hope for.

Chicago, IL

Barney has a message of thanks for his rescuers...

Little Barney S. Doodles was found in the middle of rural road late one evening in January. The temperature was in the single digits. He wouldn't have made it another hour. But then people stopped and took him to Wetzel County Animal Shelter near closing time, just in time. That saved his life. What followed has allowed him to flourish. And Barney wants to say thank you. This is his message of thanks: https://youtu.be/BLkntpLGisk .

Huntington, NY

Sir Felix-Licks-a-Lot and Miss Amelia Twinkletoes

It was spring and my roommate was in love. I was alone in the apartment most days and feeling the strain of too much work and not enough play. So we decided to adopt a cat. I’ve had cats all my life and had spent some time fostering, but it was time for a long term kitty.

I went to the shelter, looking for a short-haired, probably black (since they often have a hard time being adopted), female kitty. As soon as I walked in, my eyes were drawn to a fluffy, handsome, orange boy. Every time I got near him, he locked eyes on me and rubbed up against the bars, every time I moved away, he would yowl as if he was being hurt. I met a few other cats, but I knew from the first moment I saw him: Felix had chosen me.

His previous owner had died. He was one year old, underfed, and with a terrible URI. For the first couple weeks, I didn’t know if he was going to make it. He refused to eat or drink until at last I bribed him with milk and tuna. A few months later he had not only recovered, but become a little monster. He climbed my walls, clawed his way onto my shoulder at every opportunity and licked my toes when I was asleep. In short, I loved him helplessly. I knew he needed a friend. Enter Amelia: Tiny, bossy, with a self-important waddle. From the first day, they were in love with each other. Now I never have a lonely or boring day. My heart and my home are full of laughter and joy.

Allegra Fisher
Pittsburgh, PA

Pepper & Peanuts

Meet Princess Pepper & Peanut Buddy! Seven years ago, I took my 5 yr old to the animal shelter. On our way out we decided to check out the kittie room. There, in a cage on the bottom shelf, far in the back, was this tiny little ball of fuzz. Alone, I could immediately tell she was very sick. I scooped her up & held that sweet girl close to my chest & she immediately purred. Love at first sight for both. I knew if I didn't get her help soon she wasn't going to survive.

I took her home that day with along with her "brother" to keep each other company. I nursed my princess to health & she went back and forth a few times with illness, but once we finally got it out of her system, she just lit my life up with happiness & joy.

Turns out she was a purebred Nebelung! She's gorgeous to look at & could not be any sweeter if she tried. She has many nick names including box inspector, "if I fits, I sits". Also, motorboat, for her loud purr. She always lets me know how happy she is when she snuggles with me. She loves to play with her brother, Peanut, loves to munch on cheese & cat nip, loves to be lazy in the sunshine, and to get into pretty much any kind of trouble she can & "talks" to me all the time! She's been with me through some dark times & also very happy times and I am so thankful for this little ball of joy & for my little buddy in his little tux! There are just no words to describe it, but I love both of my rescues with all my heart!

Myrtle Beach, SC
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